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Dogs days of summer

August 21, 2009 at 04:22 PM

Right now, smack dab in the middle of the dog days of summer, lethargy can run wild.

My dad used to say, “August is a dormant month.” He was right. The grass doesn’t grow much in August. The crops are maturing. Even the weeds we’ve fought all summer have retreated to regroup for the fall attack. Unless you’re a school kid trying to load up on summer before school starts, your energy levels may be running on empty.

Snap out of it! Deer season is right around the corner. The preseason scouting that you do right now can pay off big. Squirrel hunters are already doing it.

Spending an early morning or a late afternoon in the timber, moving quietly from one tree to the next, can give you an indication of how many deer there are, when they move, which way they are coming from and where they are going. That information can be useful about a month from now when you’re hanging deer stands.

Many deer hunters scout with trail cameras. It’s never too early to set them out. You may have to trim some brush and pull a few weeds to get a clear shot at the trail, but you should be able to get a look at the deer that live in your hunting area.

We’re still months away from the rut. The does aren’t flirting yet, and the bucks haven’t gone crazy with desire. Consequently, the bucks you get pictures of now are likely to be the ones that live in your neck of the woods year-round.

That information can be helpful when you’re hunting the pre-rut in October, and when you’re out there in December when the swelling is gone from their necks and the bucks have settled back into their rest-of-the-year routine.

If you are lucky enough to capture an image of a really big buck, chances are that guy is going to remain reclusive — and stay there — even during the rut.

Take note of what time of day he’s showing up and the direction he’s traveling. That information can increase the odds of seeing him during hunting season.

When you’re looking for something to do on a hazy August evening, drive out to your hunting area and spend that last hour before dark with your binoculars. Scan the edge of your hunting area. Pay particular attention to areas that the experts call “funnels,” places where the cover narrows and deer movement is likely to be concentrated into a relatively small area.

If you’re seeing a lot of does and never see the fireplace buck that you’re hoping for, that might not be as bad as it seems. When the rut hits in November, a high concentration of does can be good.
If you know how the does go about their daily routine, you’ll be in better shape to ambush a buck — because during the rut, it’s ladies’ day every day.

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